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Stephen Crane Born to Methodist parents in New Jersey in 1871, Stephen Crane was the last of 14 children. He began writing at the age of four. After the death of his father, he was left to care for his mother, who was deeply religious. Crane developed an aversion to religion. He dropped out of school and went to work for his brother Townley, who was a journalist. Later he moved in with his brother Edmund near a poor neighborhood. His experience of life in the slums influenced his ideas about realism and naturalism later on. On New Year’s Eve 1896, he boarded a steamship for Cuba, where he was planning to report on the Cuban rebellion against Spain. The ship sank, and Crane, along with three other men, had to escape in a lifeboat. The boat overturned, and one of the men died. This experience greatly influenced Crane’s belief that humankind existed in an uncaring universe, and he later explored this idea in his short story "The Open Boat." The Open Boat The voyagers scanned the shore. A conference was held in the boat. "Well," said the captain, "if no help is coming, we might better try a run through the surf right away. If we stay out here much longer we will be too weak to do anything for ourselves at all." The others silently acquiesced in this reasoning. The boat was headed for the beach. The correspondent wondered if none ever ascended the tall wind-tower, and if then they never looked seaward. This tower was a giant, standing with its back to the plight of the ants. Based on the contextual information provided about author Stephen Crane, what theme does the last sentence of this excerpt from his short story "The Open Boat" likely reflect? Nature is cruel to the unfortunate. Only the strongest survive. Only the smartest survive. Only the lucky survive. Nature is indifferent to humans.